Growing your business can be difficult, but it’s always important to keep in mind how important customer satisfaction is. If you’re going to grow your audience and see returning customers, then you need to be able to provide a service or a product that leaves your customers feeling satisfied with their purchase, rather than wishing they had gone to one of your competitors.
Starting out, getting everything right isn’t going to be easy, which can make things very difficult for small business owners. A lot of your competitors will have more experience and more time to work things out, so being a newer business generally puts you at a disadvantage.
Without the customer, your business wouldn’t be able to exist, so why not take the time to make your customers feel valued as well? Loyalty programs for customers are a great way to give back to your customer, without worrying about being too much of an investment. Generally, the main aim of loyalty programs is to incentivise customers to return after their first purchase, and to choose you over your competitors. With the guarantee of a returning customer, by the time you have to pay out the reward for these loyalty programs - you’ve made more sales than you would have without the program.
When you can implement one of these programs into your business, everyone benefits, and customers will be much happier about receiving a discount or free transaction later down the line if they make proper use of your services.
Another great thing about the use of loyalty programs is that they’re completely flexible to how you want them. Whether you want to give your customers a free product after spending a certain amount, want to use a stamp system, or would offer a discount to returning customers - it’s completely up to you. As long as what you’re offering is enough to incentivise the customer to want your business again, you can make sure you see returning customers more often, without spending or offering more than you are able to.
It’s important that as a business owner you understand that all of your customers are unique, with different wants and needs. If you try to apply a one size fits all approach to your services and your prices, you’re going to have a difficult time keeping customers happy. Being flexible means that you can adapt the price that your charge your customer according to how much time it’s going to take you, as well as materials used - rather than trying to apply a flat rate. The point is that every customer is going to be needing a different service, so the price should be different each time.
With more flexible services, customers can be happier about an experience that was tailor made for them, and won’t have to worry about paying too much for something that they didn’t need to.
If you refuse to make your services more flexible for your audience, then there’s a chance that you’re alienating a portion of your customers. Customers who aren’t able to receive the service as they need it will be forced to look elsewhere, and you would be losing money in the long run - even if making your services more flexible would cost you time and money, it’s customers that you could be losing forever. As a small business, it’s important that you’re going above and beyond, and being flexible for the customer is a significant part of being able to do that.
Generally, when you’re providing a service to a customer, the quicker and more efficiently you get it done, the happier they will be with it. Of course, some things cannot be rushed - however, you can make your service a lot more time-efficient by making sure you’re properly organised. Being ready for anything can be difficult when your business provides a service away from the workplace, and getting caught without equipment can set you back for a few hours. Having things like field service software will help you and your employees to stay ready for everything, without having any chance of a mistake.
It’s especially important when working with new employees, as the lack of experience can make things easy to forget. Enforcing being organised and implementing new ways to help people stay on top of things is key when providing quick and quality customer service.
A big part of customer service isn’t about the product or the service that was purchased, but the service that is provided outside of the transaction. When prospective customers need to ask questions, discuss their concerns, or otherwise, it’s important that they have somewhere to do so. If your business is pretty much unreachable, then it’s going to be difficult for customers to trust you with their money. For example, if they know that if they receive a faulty product or service that they’re unhappy with, that they can reach out to your business for help - they’re more likely to trust in your services.
If there’s no way for customers to reach you over their concerns, and they do end up receiving something that they are not happy with, then it’s going to leave them feeling unhappy with their purchase. They may even leave a negative review for your business, which will play a role in deterring future customers. It’s important that you keep open communication, and make customer support easily accessible.
One way you can do this is through social media. Almost everyone is using social media these days, and it can be a great way for your business to keep in touch with your audience, while at the same time providing an excellent marketing platform. Social media for businesses can make everything a lot more transparent, and bridge the gap between the business and the customer - overall creating a better experience for the customer.
It’s not enough that you get back to customer questions and complaints, as it’s important that it’s done quickly. Outsourcing customer support to another business is often a preferred choice for a lot of smaller businesses, as it’s not cost-effective to have someone who is always ready to pick up the phone and respond to customers. If you’re going to have phone lines available, customer support emails, and website support - you need to make sure there are people who are ready to answer.
Collecting feedback is a major part of customer service, even though it’s not actually a part of the service itself. Giving the customers an opportunity to complain or criticise your business about what they would have preferred is a good way to gauge what you need to change and what you need to keep. Of course, the main challenge is collecting enough feedback to know what kind of change is going to make an impact on customer satisfaction overall.
You can collect feedback for your business through multiple different ways, and one that’s growing in popularity is through social media. Different social media platforms offer polls, which allow your followers to vote on something that you list for them. While it’s a very simple system, it can be a good way to get quick numbers and an idea of how many of your customers prefer something. It’s a very quick way to collect information, and it’s important that you take it with a grain of salt, as there’s no repercussions to voting on a poll without a serious answer - it could be anyone voting.
While customer feedback can provide valuable insight into what needs to change within your business, you shouldn’t be too hasty to make decisions using that information. You need to think about the consequences of making changes - like how much it’s going to cost you, how likely it is to alienate certain customers, and so on. You should work with the feedback, but only make chances once you know what’s going to benefit your business.
When you’re running a business, it’s all too easy to think primarily about the money you’re going to make - it’s the goal of your business, afterall. It’s especially easy to think that way if you’re not the person interacting with your customers, so take the time to think about how your customers feel. They’re human just like you, and they have their own standards and expectations of what they’re paying for.
If you’re providing products and services that only serve to make you money, while saving money on what you put out - it’s going to disappoint your customers, and they’re going to feel dissatisfied with what you’ve given them. Empathise with them, think about what you would expect for the price that you’re offering, what would disappoint you after purchasing, and so on. If you were a customer, what would you want to get from your business? Once you can think like one of your customers, it can be helpful when providing a better service.
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